How to Turn a Satellite Dish Into a WiFi Antenna
Increasing the range of wireless Internet provides convenience, productivity and potential monetary savings. Using an old satellite dish to fashion a DIY WiFi antenna is an excellent way to do this. Turning a satellite dish into a WiFi antenna can be both economical and efficient, because there is no signal loss using USB cable connections as compared to coaxial cable. The result is far stronger signal strength and range in connecting to WiFi hot spots and public access points.
Things You'll Need
- Satellite dish assembly
- Phillips screwdriver
- USB WiFi adapter
- Nylon cable ties
- USB cable
- USB extension cable (optional)
A New Use for the Satellite Dish
Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws that secure the LNB unit (the antenna part) to the extension arm of the satellite dish, and remove the LNB unit from the extension arm. There is no need to disconnect any coaxial cable, as the WiFi antenna uses USB cable instead.
Replace the LNB unit with a wireless USB WiFi adapter, and secure the adapter with nylon cable ties to the end of the extension arm of the dish assembly.
Plug a USB cable onto the USB end of the WiFi adapter, and connect the other end of the USB cable to a computer (if WiFi enabled), or modem or router (if not WiFi enabled). Use any available USB port on a laptop computer. Depending upon the length of cable to the computer or router from the satellite dish, a USB cable extension can be used with no loss of signal strength.
Position the dish at the proper point outside. Your signal strength boost with the dish as the reflective surface should exceed 15dB, which is five times stronger than a USB WiFi adapter alone. Generally point the dish in the direction of known WiFi hot spots, whose signal strength will be visible on the computer as wireless connections that are found and within range.
Insert the adapter software CD into a CD drive to install the WiFi software if the computer does not automatically find available WiFi networks. USB adapters come with a software CD, but drivers can also be downloaded from the Internet. The various Wireless Network Setup Wizards in Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7 will take you through the process to set up this wireless connection.
Connect to available public access or local WiFi networks by clicking on the available access points that display the strongest signal. The computer automatically locates available WiFi networks.